Summary report, 10–14 March 2003

16th Session of COFO

The sixteenth session of the Committee on Forestry of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) convened in Rome, Italy, from 10-14 March 2003. Over 350 delegates participated, including 113 FAO member States, as well as observers from one UN member State, the Holy See, eight United Nations agencies and programmes, and 23 inter-governmental organizations (IGOs) and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Discussions focused on major forestry policy issues, such as the role of the Regional Forestry Commissions in implementing the Intergovernmental Panel on Forestry and Intergovernmental Forum on Forestry proposals for action, forests and freshwater, national forest programmes as a mechanism to implement the key outcomes of the World Food Summit (WFS) and World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD); decisions of FAO Governing Bodies; FAO programmes in forestry, including the future of forests and implications of the Forestry Outlook Study for Africa; review of FAO programmes; and the FAO medium-term planning process, particularly regarding forests, poverty and food security, forests and water, forests and climate change, forest governance and forest biological diversity. Loosely structured side and satellite events, hosted by FAO, IGOs and NGOs, enabled participants to engage in detail discussions, and provided a measured sense of progress to the meeting.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF COFO

The Committee on Forestry (COFO) is the most important of the FAO Forestry Statutory Bodies, which also include the Regional Forestry Commissions, the Advisory Committee on Paper and Wood Products, the Committee on Mediterranean Forestry Questions (Silva Mediterranea), the International Poplar Commission and the Panel of Experts on Forest Gene Resources. The biennial sessions of COFO, held at FAO headquarters, bring together heads of forestry services and other senior government officials to identify emerging policy and technical issues, seek solutions and advise FAO and others on appropriate action. This is achieved through: periodic reviews of international forestry problems and appraisal of these problems; review of the FAO forestry work programmes and their implementation; advice to the Director-General on the future work programmes of FAO in the field of forestry and on their implementation; reviews of and recommendations on specific matters relating to forestry referred to it by the FAO Council, Director-General or member States; and reports to the FAO Council. Membership in COFO is open to all FAO member States wishing to participate in its work.

COFO12: COFO's twelfth session convened in 1995 to discuss the role of the FAO in forestry, particularly with regard to sustainable forest management (SFM). It considered the development of criteria and indicators (C&I) for SFM, trade and environment, and a possible FAO role in the UN Commission on Sustainable Development's (CSD) Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF). Delegates negotiated the Rome Statement on Forestry, later adopted by a ministerial meeting; and discussed FAO's medium-term perspectives (1996-2001) and long-term priorities (1996-2010).

COFO13: At its thirteenth session in 1997, COFO continued discussion of progress towards SFM and recommended the implementation of the IPF proposals for action. It tackled the issue of COFO's role and that of Regional Forestry Commissions. In addition, it considered implications of the Plan of Action of the WFS for forestry, addressed conservation and sustainable utilization of forest genetic resources, and called for additional financial resources for the 1998-2003 Medium-Term Plan.

COFO14: Discussions at COFO's fourteenth session in 1999 addressed the work of the CSD's Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF); global forest sector outlook; and national and international challenges to forest policies for sustainability. COFO14 also reviewed FAO's programmes in the forestry sector, and its Strategic Framework (2000-2015) and implications for the medium-term for forestry programmes.

COFO15: In 2001, COFO's fifteenth session focused on forest information and knowledge management, C&I for sustainable development of all types of forests, and implications of certification and trade for SFM. It reviewed FAO's forestry programmes, including results of the Forest Resources Assessment 2000, the 2002-07 Medium-Term Plan, proposals for global forest resources assessment, and key forest-related issues of climate change and the Kyoto Protocol.

REPORT OF THE MEETING

Outgoing Vice-Chair José María Solano López (Spain) opened the sixteenth session of COFO on Monday, 10 March. FAO Deputy Director-General David Harcharik welcomed delegates and said that there was progress towards sustainable forest management yet the pace was insufficient. He drew attention to FAO's role in the international forest policy dialogue and noted its assistance to the implementation of IPF/IFF proposals for action through support to Regional Forestry Commissions. He stressed the importance of freshwater issues in forestry and urged delegates to support a renewed commitment to SFM.

The Committee then adopted the agenda (COFO-2003/1 Rev.1). The Committee elected Flavio Miragaia Perri (Brazil) as Chair, Jan Ilavký (Slovak Republic) as First Vice-Chair, and the following as Vice-Chairs: Henri Djombo (Republic of the Congo) for Africa, David Rhodes (New Zealand) for the Southwest Pacific, Mohammed Saeid Noori Naeini (Iran) for the Near East, A.H.N. Jayasekara (Sri Lanka) for Asia and Yvan Hardy (Canada) for North America. The committee elected the following States to the Drafting Committee: Iran and Saudi Arabia for the Near East; Finland, Poland and Portugal for Europe; Costa Rica and Guatemala for Latin America and the Caribbean; the United States for North America; Australia for the Southwest Pacific; Japan as representative of the OECD; Côte d'Ivoire and Kenya for Africa; and China and Sri Lanka for Asia. The drafting Committee met daily to compose the meeting's Report.

STATE OF THE WORLD'S FORESTS 2003

Assistant Director-General of the FAO Forestry Department Hosny El-Lakany then presented highlights from the State of the World's Forests Report (SOFO 2003). He informed delegates that the publication contained contributions from IGOs, NGOs and individuals in their personal capacities. With regard to agricultural expansion and deforestation, he said that agricultural land is expanding in 70% of countries worldwide and declining in 25%. In two-thirds of the countries where agriculture is expanding, forest area is decreasing. In 60% of the countries where agriculture is decreasing, forest areas are increasing. SOFO 2003 also provides data on conversion and conservation of mangrove forests, indicating that mangrove deforestation continues, although at a lower rate than in the 1980s. El-Lakany highlighted challenges to developing low forest cover countries (LFCCs) and SOFO 2003's identification of causes and effects of forest degradation, commonalities and potential ways forward, including integrated and holistic approaches, alternative incomes for rural people, communication and information sharing, and the use of treated wastewater. He said SOFO 2003 also underscored the major role of forests in the context of climate change.

Regarding institutional issues, El-Lakany emphasized the need for fundamental changes in forestry education and enhancement of collaboration among regions and institutions. He mentioned that over 80% of developing countries and countries with economies in transition were experimenting with decentralization. SOFO 2003 reviews recent means of effective cooperation between governments, private industries and NGOs to curb illegal logging and corruption. It underscores the need for cross-sectoral linkages and involvement of stakeholders. Addressing select current issues in the forest sector, El-Lakany highlighted the Report's emphasis on the potential of forests in poverty alleviation, specifically through actions to strengthen rights and capacity, reduce vulnerability, and seize opportunities.

The Report underlines the role of forests in the management of freshwater resources. It addresses the impact of SFM on biodiversity conservation by recognizing the diversity of systems, and the dependency of local populations. SOFO 2003 points to significant differences in domestic investment in forestry management, particularly between industrialized and developing countries. If the current situation persists, many countries will be excluded from knowledge-sharing and the provision of local needs will fall short. The recent Forestry Outlook Study for Africa indicates that public expenditure is often less than 1%. Investments lag behind inflation, with most domestic expenditures directed to staff costs. Finally, SOFO 2003 highlights the importance of the international forestry dialogue and the role of the National Forest Programme Facility regarding capacity building and knowledge management, and forest-related decisions emerging from the WSSD.

The Chair invited comments from delegates. Senegal noted the lack of adequate access to information. The European Union, Brazil, Malaysia and Kenya requested that in the future the SOFO Report be distributed prior to COFO. Brazil and Malaysia raised concerns regarding the Report's definition of illegal logging. Brazil shared progress on its national development for SFM, including the launch in 2000 of its national forest programme, involving wide stakeholder participation. Sharing thoughts on its long-term ecological challenges, the US commended the Report's focus on, inter alia: C&I for SFM; collaborative and regional processes; importance of fresh water; and inclusion of social issues, such as participation and governance in SFM. He stressed the importance of global collaborative partnerships. Guatemala said that it had experienced a lack of international support for the inclusion of forestry in development programmes and stressed the need for cross-sectoral links. Lebanon noted its commitment to SFM and highlighted the importance of the FAO's expertise in pest control.

The Republic of the Congo said the FAO should play a leading role in all aspects of SFM, including C&I and forest certification. Iran said specific challenges facing the LFCCs, such as subsistence dependency on forests, were not considered in the Report. South Africa commended the Report's importance in contributing to its national forest programme, but noted insufficient reference to pest and disease management. Mexico said there is a need for an up-to-date and flexible information system to tackle issues such as financing, SFM, carbon sequestration and corruption. Sierra Leone noted the difficulties in ensuring allocation of funds to forestry in Africa. Rwanda linked the need for alternative energy sources to the importance of forests in generating livelihoods and combating poverty.

Egypt underlined the importance of water and use of treated wastewater as social and economic factors in forest management, and called for COFO's attention to issues relevant to the Mediterranean region. Kenya welcomed the compilation of material in the Forestry Outlook Study for Africa, called for follow-up action, and emphasized concern over illegal forest activities domestically and internationally. Côte d'Ivoire noted its new integrated and participatory forest management policy. The United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) emphasized the importance of SOFO as a reference tool and stressed the need for cross-sectoral cooperation.

Assistant Director-General El-Lakany expressed regret at the inevitable delay in the production of SOFO. He noted the difficulty in verifying conflicting figures within one country and invited authenticated corrections. In response to Brazil and Malaysia, he said that SOFO raised issues of international significance. El-Lakany said that FAO would try to report periodically on national experiences regarding forests and water.

THE ROLE OF REGIONAL FORESTRY COMMISSIONS IN IMPLEMENTING THE IPF/IFF PROPOSALS FOR ACTION

COFO discussed the role of Regional Forestry Commissions (RFCs) on Tuesday, 11 March. Director of the Forest Products Division Wulf Killmann introduced the report on the RFCs (COFO-2003/2), highlighting their commonalities, region-specific approaches and diversities, and emphasized their role in bringing issues to the attention of policy-makers. He invited a panel of RFC representatives to address the role of RFCs in implementing SFM. On the role of the RFCs in helping countries implement the IPF/IFF proposals for actions, the representative of the Latin America and Caribbean RFC, Jorge Menéndez (Argentina), said that the RFCs are a natural mechanism for dialogue. They are established to avoid duplication, promote best regional practices on resource management, and facilitate interaction between international and national bodies and the private sector.

The representative of the RFC for Africa, Motsamai Nkozi (South Africa), said that RFCs promote international interaction to implement IPF/IFF proposals and provide vital regional coordination. They have the capacity for economic spin-off to contribute to poverty alleviation. RFCs also disseminate information and analysis to the region and member countries, and should promote research and development mechanisms related to forests.

On the role of RFCs in addressing issues in collaboration with COFO, the representative of the Asia-Pacific RFC, Navaan-Yunden Oyundar (Mongolia), said that there are many common concerns both within regions and among them, such as plantation incentives, illegal logging, forest fires, invasive species and pests.

The representative of the European RFC, Arvids Ozols (Latvia), said that the RFCs facilitate cross-sectoral information-sharing on technical and policy issues.

On regional action for SFM, the representative of the Near East RFC, Hassan Abdel Nour (Egypt), said that the RFCs should publicize successful SFM; promote cooperation on regional and subregional management; and strengthen research through development of education curricula.

The representative of the RFC for North America, Alberto Cadenas Jimenes (Mexico), said that RFCs need to promote cross-sectoral interaction to improve linkages between the forestry sector and others, and could implement the WSSD call to integrate all basic human requirements by increasing public awareness of SFM.

Delegates proceeded to discuss the RFCs' role. On the role of RFCs in implementing the IPF/IFF proposals for action, Norway said RFCs could be used to strengthen regional cooperation. India emphasized the importance of disseminating information about RFCs at the grassroots level. Greece, on behalf of the European Community and its member States, stressed the need for FAO's Medium- and Long-Term Plans to incorporate concrete strategies for collaboration between the RFCs and other regional forest processes. The Republic of the Congo underscored the need for RFCs to consider other organizational activities in the regions and subregions, such as those undertaken by the African Timber Organization.

The Philippines said the RFCs should aim to:

  • raise awareness about certification;
  • improve effective watershed management;
  • develop regional cooperation on illegal logging;
  • assess social and environmental costs of illegal logging;
  • develop basic guidelines for incentive systems; and
  • develop means for effective implementation of these measures.

Brazil noted that the RFCs are a useful tool for devising forest law enhancement at the national level. The Republic of Korea suggested a measured approach, prioritizing the IPF/IFF proposals for action in accordance with gaps identified at the national level. Senegal said that RFC officers should take part in international events. Expressing hope that the RFCs would continue to share technical knowledge, China said the FAO should focus on mobilizing funds and technology to assist in the creation of forest management plans. Sudan stressed that combating illegal logging needs more institutional and financial support from the RFCs.

Algeria proposed that RFCs could be strengthened with the support of national forestry programme experts. Peru urged improving efficiency of RFCs by strengthening regional and subregional working groups. Addressing the role of the FAO, Norway said the FAO should collaborate closely with regional bodies to: enhance and provide information on Forest Resource Assessments (FRAs) and forest outlook studies, implement the IPF/IFF proposals for action, and support inter-sessional activities. Japan said there was a need for clarification of institutional roles between the FAO, COFO, and the RFCs. He also stressed the importance of decentralizing budgets and activities.

Kenya urged the FAO to focus on strategies for early warning and rapid responses. The Slovak Republic stressed the need to examine the direction of forestry education and proposed that FAO lead a global consultation on forestry education. The US said FAO should continue to support capacity building through workshops, technical support and policy guidance; and maintain its leadership role in the UNFF and the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF). Australia, supported by Malaysia, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea, proposed that an Asia-Pacific regional workshop be held to identify regional priorities and potential projects. He also proposed the formation of an expert group to conduct an assessment of regional priorities and implementation capacity.

Malaysia suggested that workshop themes include traditional knowledge and intellectual property rights; monitoring and assessment; valuation of forest products; and the social and economic impacts of trade-related measures. New Zealand noted that a major challenge remained in harmonizing forest-related definitions, and called for clarity across the board. Canada urged the FAO to work with the RFCs to disseminate information to COFO member States through RFC web sites. Uganda and Sierra Leone highlighted bush fire problems in areas of food scarcity. Spain, France and Portugal drew attention to the Silva Mediterranea initiative as a unique example of long-term collaboration. The Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe drew attention to the importance of implementing political commitments. Assistant Director-General El-Lakany requested that specific proposals be submitted in writing.

FORESTS AND FRESHWATER – ISSUES AND OPTIONS

COFO considered the issue of forests and freshwater on Tuesday and Wednesday, 11-12 March. FAO's Forest Resources Division Director El Hadji Sène introduced the Secretariat's note (COFO-2003/3), emphasizing the need for renewed interest in the link between forests and freshwater; and the impact of forests on water quantity and quality. He reviewed achievements and gaps in watershed management and highlighted emerging issues, including dissemination of information, participatory processes and capacity building. Regarding FAO initiatives related to forests and water, he highlighted review and assessment of watershed management approaches and strategies aiming at better understanding the main institutional players; and the establishment of a forests and water entity at FAO to support sustainable management of water resources and to promote appropriate technologies and methodologies in collaboration with stakeholders. As options to attain these objectives, he identified: considering forests as a component of comprehensive water management programmes; adopting a watershed approach to promote participation of all stakeholders; engaging in inter-sectoral dialogue and cooperation; and prioritizing management of forest cover in riparian areas. He said COFO directions for future action could include support for the forests and water entity in the Medium-Term Plan, promotion of partnerships and facilitation of stakeholder participation.

Portugal summarized the outcomes from the side event on forests and freshwater held on Monday, 10 March. Presentations were made by FAO's Forest Conservation, Research and Education Service, and Water Resources, Development and Management Service; the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the International Water Management Institute; and Japan. Issues raised included:

  • the loss of forests, which can adversely affect water supply;
  • the importance of upstream-downstream relationships;
  • improvement of water conditions;
  • uncertainties regarding the forests-water relationship;
  • the need for a multi-disciplinary exercise requiring economic, social and political institutional cooperation;
  • the need to elaborate emerging economic considerations;
  • the need to coordinate international work to avoid duplication; and
  • FAO's role in disseminating information.

Greece, on behalf of the European Community and its member States, welcomed the introduction of forests and freshwater to the Medium-Term Plan; emphasized the importance of sustainable development of water management to water catchment areas; and noted insufficient attention to lowland and riparian areas. He urged FAO to foster inter-sectoral cooperation at the national and international level, and welcomed coordination with other international bodies.

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and India called for detailed research on planning and management of forests and water. Tanzania called for an incentive mechanism for implementation of SFM. Norway expressed reservations on the establishment of a new forests and water entity, since it may shift the focus from higher priorities of FAO, which should include development of cooperation with institutions and focus on assisting core activities to avoid duplication. The US requested that the COFO Report emphasize the critical role of forests in maintaining clean water.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo requested assistance in undertaking impact studies. Guatemala asked the FAO to consider Central America as a subregion requiring more agile support and less bureaucracy. Cameroon noted the increasing difficulties of African countries in watershed preservation and management. Switzerland said forests should be managed taking into account the financial value of water. Kenya drew attention to the changing lifestyles of forest dwellers. He said key challenges to water catchment management include resolving conflicts between jurisdictions and policy. Brazil said freshwater and forests lie at the center of its national strategic challenge to eradicate poverty and hunger.

Sudan stressed the need for cooperation among regional groups. Malaysia wanted FAO to explore linkages between water and forests in its next Global Forest Resource Assessment. Lebanon advocated the need for adequate strategies for watershed conservation. Japan said the FAO should take into account lessons learned globally on watershed management. Peru noted its concern with the treatment of land zoning and said that population growth should be taken into account as a prerequisite for water management strategies. She highlighted the special water needs in semi-arid and arid areas and said that FAO's contribution to awareness-raising on forests and water could be done through the dissemination of information and best practices at the national level.

Mexico and China welcomed FAO's initiative on international cooperation on freshwater and forests and, together with Algeria and Angola, expressed hope that FAO would facilitate exchange of information and experiences and support developing countries in implementing SFM. Canada welcomed the new forests and water entity; agreed with Japan on the need to enhance knowledge on the relationship between forests and freshwater; emphasized the importance of developing standardized tools to facilitate exchange of information and best practices; and suggested that FAO act as clearing house for concepts and methods to enable such a dialogue.

Senegal requested FAO support in exploring better use of its river waters. Angola highlighted the centrality of humans as the beneficiaries of integrated management. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) informed delegates of various international fora addressing the forest-water relationship. The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) underscored the link between deforestation and desertification and invited FAO technical support for its field operation programmes. Responding to comments, Assistant Director-General El-Lakany noted that except for one reservation, the new forests and water entity gained participants' approval. He said that the entity's main function would be administrative and budgetary, and would ensure multidisciplinary, cost effective and measurable SFM implementation.

NATIONAL FOREST PROGRAMMES

COFO considered the National Forest Programmes (NFPs) on Wednesday, 12 March. FAO's Forestry Policy and Institutions Branch Chief Manuel Paveri-Anziani introduced the Secretariat's note on NFPs as a mechanism to implement the key outcomes of the World Food Summit: five years later (WFS:fyl) and the WSSD (COFO-2003/4). NFPs contain basic elements, such as guaranteed access to forest resources by forest peoples, respect for legal norms, use of sustainable techniques for forest exploration, use of traditional practices, participatory processes and strengthening national capacity. The roles of NFPs in implementing the WFS:fyl and WSSD recommendations are to develop consensus at the national level, integrate SFM into the broader national processes, and implement international commitments at the national level. The Secretariat suggested that COFO examine the following proposals to enhance the capacity of NFPs in implementing the WFS:fyl and WSSD recommendations to:

  • develop stakeholder involvement;

  • encourage an inter-sectoral approach;
  • harmonize with National Biodiversity Strategies and international commitments;
  • systematically monitor the development and implementation of NFPs, such as C&I for SFM;
  • serve as the focus of international assistance for capacity building; and
  • optimize use of the NFP Facility (NFPF).

Nigeria reported outcomes of the side event on the NFPF held on Tuesday, March 11. He said that participants recognized the Facility's role in removing bottlenecks in NFP implementation. The Facility does not duplicate other external funding but seeks to promote NFP sustainability. Its composition should reflect regional balance.

Canada urged the FAO to include in its Medium- and Long-Term plan consideration of links between NFPs and wider strategies that aim to alleviate poverty. Greece, on behalf of the European Community and its member States, urged FAO to align NFP activities with bilateral programmes, IPF/IFF proposals for action, and the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD). He also invited the FAO to report on the current status of the NFPs.

Brazil emphasized that to achieve SFM in all countries and all types of forests, the FAO should assist in enhancing developing countries' fiscal, technological and market access. France said it was necessary to strengthen the NFPF further. Chile said the FAO should focus on technical issues relating to all forest types. Sudan stressed the importance of partnerships such as the New Partnership for Africa's Development. Sierra Leone and Bangladesh stressed the need to extend capacity building to community-based organizations. Egypt said its NFP addresses social, economic and ecological needs of its people.

Senegal highlighted the inclusion of capacity building to local farmers and institutional analysis of the forestry sector in its NFP strategy. Together with Rwanda, he appealed for international financial support for national activities. Rwanda also recounted that its post-war restoration efforts included the institutionalization of forestry activities, such as an annual forest event where reforestation takes place on a national scale. Cambodia said it had made significant achievements in curbing illegal forestry activities, highlighted the adoption of a forestry law and national forest policy statement in 2002, and invited the international community to support further implementation of the process.

The US emphasized links between poverty and environment, stating that poverty enhances environmental degradation. He called on FAO to strengthen its role as a scientific institution and enhance support for local community-based programmes. The Republic of Korea and Honduras supported the NFPF's assistance in implementation of NFPs. Guatemala suggested that the FAO support exchange of information, and technical and financial assistance through re-engineering international instruments that do not address forests. Indonesia underscored the need for national prioritization of IPF/IFF activities.

Norway drew attention to the importance of political support to forest issues in motivating broad participation of stakeholders. Sweden said that the success of the forestry sector lies in credible participation, evaluation and revision. Australia suggested that the UNFF Secretariat and the CPF develop a register of tasks to enable monitoring and efficient financing coordination, and work with the CBD Secretariat to coordinate forest-related activities, with the NFPF playing a leading role. The UK commended FAO's approach and emphasized the usefulness of NFPs in developed countries.

Turkey supported the Secretariat's proposed recommendations. Latvia highlighted the importance of cross-sectoral and participatory approaches. India called for linking international financial institutions with national programmes. Nigeria urged the FAO to support its capacity-building activities for the development of C&I in the NFPs. Finland said national consensus is a cornerstone of the NFP process and called for wider donor support to the Facility. Kenya urged for technical support to its NFP to address inter-agency coordination, conflict resolution, capacity building, and resource mobilization. Cyprus welcomed the NFPs as a step "from rhetoric to action."

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea emphasized natural disasters and the international political context as core factors challenging its forestry sector. Portugal emphasized that the NFPs were facing a lack of cross-sectoral linkages, insufficient participatory mechanisms, and insecure government commitments. She asked the FAO to explore mechanisms to overcome these. Algeria said that highlighting synergies between desertification, climate change and forests was important. Mali said there was an urgent need for NFPs to improve communication plans to better address the responsibility of local users in relation to the protection of forest resources. Costa Rica urged the FAO to "step-up" its support for implementing regional plans for Central America.

The Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe noted that it had developed an approach for NFPs based on the IPF/IFF plans of action, involving more than 40 European countries. The Confederation of European Forest Owners said clear land tenure, property rights and real participation were key to implementing NFP objectives.

Summarizing emerging issues, Assistant Director-General El-Lakany highlighted the need to:

  • establish partnerships for NFPs;
  • harmonize processes at national and international levels, such as the IPF/IFF proposals for action and WSSD with NFPs;
  • increase financial support from COFO member countries;
  • address NFPs within wider strategic approaches and relate these to a broader range of stakeholders; and
  • streamline strategies with wider national strategies.

DECISIONS OF FAO GOVERNING BODIES OF INTEREST TO THE COMMITTEE

On Wednesday, 12 March, COFO Secretary Michael Martin presented the Secretariat note on decisions of interest to the Committee taken by FAO Governing Bodies since the fifteenth session of COFO (COFO-2003/5). At its 120th session, the FAO Council endorsed the Report of the fifteenth session of COFO, and took note of the many recommendations that supported the role of FAO in assisting member nations achieve SFM, and stressed, inter alia, the inter-sectoral dimensions of forestry, the role of forests in climate change, and the need to reduce poverty, contribute to food security and protect the environment. The Council emphasized the importance of FAO activities, including support for NFPs, capacity building, information and knowledge management, C&I for SFM, forest resource assessments, and forest fire management. The Council requested FAO to continue supporting UNFF and collaborating with the secretariats of international conventions related to forests, and supported FAO leadership in the CPF. Regional conferences took note of the need to collaborate on the follow-up of the International Year of Mountains; to develop information systems and strengthen capacity in trade talks; and to support LFCCs.

THE FUTURE OF FORESTS: IMPLICATIONS OF THE FORESTRY OUTLOOK STUDY FOR AFRICA

On 12 March, COFO considered the Forestry Outlook Study for Africa (FOSA) (COFO-2003/6). FAO Forestry Planning and Statistics Branch Chief C.T.S. Nair presented the study. FOSA provides a 20-year perspective and long-term planning framework for the development of the forestry sector in Africa. The overview and five subregional reports identify driving forces, describe policy and institutional scenarios for forestry development, assess implications for the future of forestry, and present possible ways of increasing FAO's contribution to sustainable development. FOSA identifies as persisting issues: high levels of forest loss and slow progress in the implementation of SFM; the need to protect biodiversity; wood remaining the most important source of energy; and wood products as unlikely to generate more income. Poverty alleviation and stabilization of the environment are identified as main thrusts for future action. Specific emphasis should be given to revitalizing the public sector, improving the functioning of market forces through appropriate legal and institutional measures, and supporting the informal sector. Follow-up work should include integrating the findings into NFPs, strengthening country capacity for strategic planning, and establishing networks.

Commenting on FOSA, Kenya, Côte d'Ivoire and the Republic of the Congo highlighted the importance of capacity building. Côte d'Ivoire also urged FAO to establish a mechanism for forestry protection in times of conflict. Japan requested FAO to consult with countries covered by existing outlook studies on potential improvement of future studies. Senegal, supported by Mali, Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, noted that the Report was unduly pessimistic in view of the political will and commitments made. Canada reiterated its commitment to Africa and looked forward to cooperating towards achieving FOSA's goals.

Sudan highlighted difficulties in accessing global markets even when forest products were available. South Africa stressed the need for information on the informal sector and suggested that the FAO take the lead in supporting this research, particularly in regional institutions. Honduras noted that FOSA is also applicable to other regions and asked that in future reports FAO address governability, access to land, and land tenure as obstacles to effective SFM. The United States called for studies on devolution of authority and responsibility, enhancing governance, property and procedural rights; and emphasized the need for further transparency in the formal sector.

Nigeria proposed that in light of emerging issues, FAO take the lead in regional research on poverty alleviation and review of forest training curricula. Greece, on behalf of the European Community and its member States, expressed concern over current trends. He said FAO strategies should provide assistance to capacity building. Forest-related schemes such as NFPs should be fully recognized by governments as instruments of SFM and poverty reduction.

Responding to comments, El-Lakany said that the study is meant to raise alarm, although there are also cases of successful SFM. Renewed political commitment, civil society at large and the private sector need to be looked at. He acknowledged the need to obtain information on the informal sector and said that FAO supported research organizations in Africa. Responding to the calls for assistance he reminded delegates that FAO can provide technical but not financial assistance. Nair emphasized that FAO would continue to update the information on a regular basis.

REVIEW OF FAO PROGRAMMES IN THE FORESTRY SECTOR

On Wednesday, 12 March, COFO reviewed FAO programmes in the forestry sector, including follow-up to the requests and recommendations of the fifteenth session of the Committee as well as the Programme Implementation Report. FAO Forestry Department Progamme Coordinator Douglas Kneeland introduced the document on FAO programmes in the forestry sector (COFO-2003/ 7). The programmes deal with: forest resources including mountain ecosystems, implementation of C&I for SFM, and support for model and demonstration forests; forest products; forests and climate change; forestry policy and institutions; forestry information and liaison; FRAs; and harmonizing forest-related definitions.

He noted that collaborative efforts on forests and climate change included information exchange between FAO, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), recruitment of a senior climate expert, and capacity building of the Central American Commission for Environment and Development. He highlighted the ongoing collaborative process of harmonizing forest-related definitions, with, among others, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the IPCC. He noted that FAO had launched FRA programmes in Guatemala, Mexico and the Philippines. Regarding the UNFF process he noted FAO's support to the CPF task force on streamlining reporting, the secondment of staff to the UNFF Secretariat, country-led initiatives, and national capacity building through the NFPF.

The Philippines and Honduras reported on side events held on Tuesday, 11 March. On developments in FRAs, the Philippines said delegates recommended that the FAO, inter alia:

  • continue supporting partnerships for FRAs;
  • endorse a common set of national reporting guidelines;
  • note the need to continue harmonizing forest-related definitions;
  • continue streamlining processes; and
  • continue backing FRA capacity-building efforts.

These, he noted, should be cost-effective and recognize national ownership of the process. On harmonizing forest-related definitions delegates suggested the need to:

  • define natural forests and trees outside of forest areas;
  • consider LFCC;
  • develop carbon inventories;
  • standardize newly established definitions; and
  • include forest experts in international processes.

Summarizing common issues, Deputy Director-General El-Lakany noted that the FAO Forestry Department continues to support the FRA; and is moving into national level capacity building, education and training, and directing support to cross-sectoral issues. Commenting on climate change and harmonizing forest-related definitions, FAO Forest Products Division Director Wulf Killmann said that foresters had largely missed the UNFCCC process and that FAO would continue to strengthen and accelerate the process of harmonizing definitions. Commenting on forest fires, FAO Forest Resources Division Director El Hadji Sène drew attention the creation of a technical post in the FAO Forestry Resource Division, cooperation agreements on forestry and fires, and the publication of a technical directive on forest fires in the Mediterranean region. The FAO was urged to report the results of the process to UNFF and the CPF.

Brazil noted its interest in FAO's capacity-building efforts on climate and forests in Latin America. Guatemala supported further promoting FAO's role in C&I. Greece, on behalf of the European Community and its member States, commended the FRA 2000 and called on FAO to seek more active international collaboration to save costs, avoid duplication and create new synergies at the global level. He welcomed progress on forest-related definitions and suggested that subsequent steps include feedback to the UNFCCC, CBD and UNFF. Sweden welcomed the partnership collaboration between the UN Economic Commission for Europe's Timber Committee and FAO in the Global FRA.

The Slovak Republic, supported by Cyprus, stressed the importance of education in forest policy and planning. He said there is an urgent need to include a wider range of cross-sectoral issues including decentralization and empowerment of local communities; and that FAO has a comparative advantage in the field of education and extension. Cameroon urged FAO to provide further funding for FRAs. The US supported, inter alia, the FAO's work on forests and climate change, and suggested that a future programme be expanded to address key forest-related issues on climate change under the UNFCCC. He commended the CPF and the UNFF partnerships with FAO and supported the continuation of harmonizing forest-related definitions. He encouraged FAO to provide accurate and timely data on the Global RFA.

Tanzania solicited help from the FAO to elaborate opportunities with the Clean Development Mechanism; plan forest fire control; combat forest diseases in plantations and natural forests; provide expert advice for the establishment of certification; and rehabilitate refugee-affected areas. The Republic of Korea said the FAO should set up an information-sharing network on forest fires. Canada applauded FAO's efforts to harmonize forest-related definitions and ensured it would continue to be an active participant in the process. The Philippines and Argentina commended FAO's efforts on model and demonstration forests and urged for continued support to the process. Mexico called on the FAO to continue supporting the C&I process and to encourage regional approaches for south-south cooperation.

DEFINING WORK OBJECTIVES FOR FAO IN KEY CROSS-CUTTING AREAS IDENTIFIED BY COUNTRIES AND THE FAO MEDIUM-TERM PLANNING PROCESS

Discussion of the work objectives for FAO and its medium-term planning process took place on Thursday, 13 March. Assistant Director-General El-Lakany presented the proposals for the work programme for 2004-2005 (COFO-2003/8 and COFO-2003/8 ADD.1). The Medium-Term Plan (MTP) contains the four FAO forestry programmes with some modifications. In addition to existing entities:

  • the Forest Resources Programme contains new entities on forests and water and forests and climate change;
  • the Forest Products and Economics Programme includes new entities on forestry sector outlook studies and economic aspects of forests; and
  • the Forestry Policy and Institutions Programme includes new entities on poverty alleviation and food security, and forest policies.

The Forestry Information and Liaison Programme supports the three Programmes.

Lebanon reported that in the side event on FAO support for member countries held on Wednesday, 12 March, participants noted:

  • a decline in field programmes;
  • the importance of regional officers for technical assistance and of RFCs in consultations and drawing up programmes for actions and priorities;
  • the need to raise awareness among member and donors countries of the valuable contribution of FAO field programmes;
  • the need for countries to interact with FAO;
  • the need to simplify processes for requesting FAO assistance; and
  • FAO's role in information dissemination and exchange.

Iran reported on consultations held on Wednesday, 12 March, during the side event on LFCCs. Discussions raised the need for the Teheran Process on LFCCs to proceed on the basis of a multidisciplinary, decentralized and participatory approach. The Teheran Secretariat also needs continued technical support to highlight LFCC issues at the international level and reach out to LFCCs.

Greece, on behalf of the European Community and its member States, and supported by Australia, stressed that the programme of work should be clearly focused and contain indicators for quantitative and qualitative outputs. He welcomed the FAO's entity on forests and poverty alleviation, noting that it should be mainstreamed throughout the FAO's programmes. The Czech Republic supported strengthening private and community forestry initiatives under the Forest Policy and Institutions Programme.

Australia supported the FAO's work on the IPF/IFF proposals for action, collaboration with the CPF, development of C&I, trade and SFM, elaboration of harmonized forest-related definitions, FRAs, and economics of forests. He encouraged FAO support to Global FRAs and regional information-sharing networks; and recommended clear reference to linkages to the IPF/IFF proposals for action. Algeria called for further clarification on priorities and measures for the FAO's entity on forests and water.

Japan and Brazil requested FAO to collaborate with existing organizations to avoid duplicating international efforts on forests, water and climate change. The Republic of the Congo, Senegal and South Africa stressed the importance of capacity building at the subregional level and recommended that FAO convene workshops on key aspects of SFM, including certification and management of forest fires. Morocco stated that the FAO should continue supporting developing countries in FRAs and development of methodologies and evaluation techniques. Nigeria urged the FAO to focus on elaborating scientific methods to evaluate the contribution of non-wood forest products to the economic value of forests.

Lebanon called on FAO for continued support in implementing action plans for the management of mountain ecosystems. Finland said the FAO should: avoid duplication between its programme of work and that of the CBD regarding genetic resources and forest fires; and clarify the conceptual basis of the ecosystem approach. China said that while it supported FAO's traditional programmes, it welcomed FAO's efforts to expand into the area of climate and climate change policy.

Canada called on FAO to concentrate on its mandate as a source of global information, advice and dialogue, thus avoiding duplication and spreading itself too thin. It highlighted the importance of forest biodiversity and called for additional biodiversity protection in FAO programmes and for the FAO to support the CBD. Brazil objected to the use of concepts that are not agreed upon, such as governance and illegal logging, and suggested to speak instead of "forest policy and management of NFP". He reiterated its interest in work on poverty alleviation and food security, and suggested that south-south cooperation be strengthened. He also encouraged FAO to explore links between sustainable use, conservation of forest resources, and the fight against poverty and hunger.

Guatemala, supported by the Dominican Republic, on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean Group in Rome (GRULAC-Rome), proposed the establishment of a subregional FAO office in Central America, and queried whether the budget allocation reflected the asserted importance of forestry. GRULAC-Rome also asked that in its Report COFO:

  • take note of recommendations from the International Conference on Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management (CICI 2003);
  • note its conclusions and recommendations;
  • recommend the convening of follow-up expert consultation between the third and fourth sessions of UNFF; and
  • recommend that C&I remain a priority in the FAO forestry programme.

India suggested the creation of a forest sustainability index, to indicate, inter alia, carbon dioxide contribution of forests, forest health and vitality, biodiversity functions, and productive, social and economic functions. He highlighted the impact of forests on microclimates and said that the developing world requires aggressive awareness campaigns.

The United States:

  • asked the FAO to continue providing assistance to prevent and control forest fires with an increased emphasis on ecologically-based fire management programmes;

  • encouraged funding for the new forests and freshwater entity;

  • underscored the importance of promoting the use of forests and wood products as measurable carbon sinks;

  • encouraged emphasis on outputs under the national institutional capacities and governance programme elements;

  • called on FAO to strengthen its role as facilitator of discussions on mutual recognition and exchange of information on forest certification schemes;

  • suggested including reference in the COFO Report and the MTP to the CICI 2003 conclusions and recommendations; and

  • asked that the Report acknowledge that the contribution of forests to the thematic areas of the WSSD is not well recognized internationally, recognize that better coordination is needed to ensure that SFM contributes and benefits from developments in these areas, and recommend that FAO cooperate with other IGOs to increase public awareness of the potential of C&I.

Norway expressed hope that the FAO would focus protection efforts in areas of high-level poverty and deforestation rates. Supported by Indonesia and Japan, he requested that FAO prioritize forest policy and governance issues, such as analysis of underlying causes of illegal activities and means to enhance developing countries' institutional capacities. Argentina requested FAO to clarify the definition of governance in relation to forests. Latvia suggested that future meetings consider the scope of the terms "forests" and "forestry" in various elements of the programmes such as forestry policy and governance. The Forestry Research Network for Sub-Saharan Africa (FORNESSA) requested that the FAO prioritize research to enhance SFM. The International Tropical Timber Organization highlighted that the problems faced in the forestry sector outweigh resource availability and collaboration is a necessity.

Summarizing the debate, Assistant Director-General El-Lakany said that in view of delegates' interventions, priority will be given to the new entities. Delegates provided advice and guidance on streamlining, which would have to be done within limited resource availability. The Forestry Department was seeking linkages with other processes and bodies. FAO's field programmes have declined, although work continues closely with the technical cooperation programme.

Programme Budget and Evaluation Director Tony Wade highlighted the evaluation process of programmes, instituted in 2003 through periodic internal and peer group evaluation. He provided information on the increase in the forestry programmes' allocation within the overall FAO and technical programmes' budget, indicating that it had weathered budget cuts.

CLOSING PLENARY

On Friday, 14 March, COFO agreed to convene its seventeenth session from 14-18 March 2005, in Rome. Delegates then proceeded to adopt the meeting's Draft Report (COFO-2003/REP) with minor oral amendments. In their closing statements, Assistant Director-General El-Lakany and Chair Miragaia Perri thanked delegates for providing FAO with advice and guidance in a spirit of coopeation. The meeting closed at 3:00 pm.

COFO'S REPORT OF THE MEETING

The report of COFO16 addresses the following topics.

STATE OF THE WORLD'S FORESTS 2003: COFO, inter alia: recognizes the usefulness of SOFO and welcomes coverage of several key topics, including: the role of forests with regard to poverty alleviation, freshwater, climate change and biodiversity conservation, and progress on the use of C&I in SFM; and encourages the Forestry Department to continue collaboration with external contributors in the preparation of SOFO.

THE ROLE OF REGIONAL FORESTRY COMMISSIONS IN IMPLEMENTING THE IPF/IFF PROPOSALS FOR ACTION: COFO, inter alia:

  • welcomes the innovative approach of the introduction of the topic by a panel of RFC representatives;
  • agrees that RFCs are an important mechanism to support countries in implementing SFM and recommends that they be strengthened;
  • recommends that the RFCs strengthen their links with other regional organizations and processes and that the private sector and NGOs be more involved in activities;
  • recommends that the FAO lead in increasing focus on policy and technical advice to countries on implementing IPF/IFF proposals for action and continue to build capacity in member countries;
  • recommends that the FAO enhance efforts to help mobilize resources for countries to implement the IPF/IFF proposals for action;
  • recommends establishing regional rosters of persons familiar with the IPF/IFF proposals for action to assist countries in assessing and prioritizing the proposals;
  • recommends that RFCs be used to facilitate information flow between UNFF and countries; and
  • encourages the FAO to take action on the RFCs' recommendations.

FORESTS AND FRESHWATER – ISSUES AND OPTIONS: COFO, inter alia:

  • supports the inclusion of a new entity on water and forests in the Medium-Term Plan for 2004-2009;
  • encourages FAO to support processes that maximize stakeholder contributions in the development and implementation of policies, programmes and strategies that integrate land use and water management with SFM, and address conflict issues;
  • urges the FAO to establish partnerships with other organizations working on issues related to forests and water;
  • recommends that countries further enhance synergies to deal with water issues of mutual concern at the national level; and
  • encourages FAO to support initiatives related to water supply, sanitation and integrated water resource management launched at WSSD.

NATIONAL FOREST PROGRAMMES: COFO, inter alia:

  • recommends that FAO continue to support NFP processes;
  • urges FAO to address internationally-agreed development goals in its work related to NFPs; and
  • recognizes the need for verifiable goals and milestones for reviewing progress and for assessing the contributions of NFPs and requests FAO to assist countries in this regard.

DECISIONS OF FAO GOVERNING BODIES OF INTEREST TO THE COMMITTEE: COFO, inter alia: welcomes the FAO Council's statements on the inter-sectoral dimensions of forestry, including in the context of climate change, desertification, food security, poverty alleviation and environmental protection, and welcomes the view that FAO should continue supporting UNFF and the CPF.

THE FUTURE OF FORESTS: IMPLICATIONS OF THE FORESTRY OUTLOOK STUDY FOR AFRICA: COFO, inter alia:

  • recognizes the usefulness of the Report in providing a realistic analysis of the situation and in signaling the need to address problems on an urgent basis, yet notes positive trends in policy development and implementation in Africa's forest sector;
  • agrees that follow-up activities should include regular updates of country data and particularly notes the need to provide additional information on the informal sector;
  • confirms the need for countries to adopt multi-sectoral approaches in the development and implementation of nationals plans and programmes;
  • recommends that the FAO and partners promote stakeholders participation in national processes and further assist capacity building for long-term strategic planning and sustained action to reverse negative trends; and
  • requests FAO assistance to countries' efforts to promote efficiency in the public sector, improve the functioning of markets and achieve greater access to markets.

REVIEW OF FAO PROGRAMMES IN THE FORESTRY SECTOR: COFO, inter alia:

  • recommends that FAO focus on its mandated role as a source of global forestry information and continue to give high priority to FRAs;
  • endorses the major recommendations of an international expert consultation on FRAs;
  • recommends that the FAO continue giving high priority to supporting forestry education, extension and research;
  • recommends that the harmonization of forest-related definitions continue;
  • recommends that the FAO continue its work on: C&I; model and demonstration forests; participatory forestry forest fire control; wildlife management; forest biodiversity; forests and climate change; support to NFPs; the links between forests, forestry and poverty alleviation; trade and SFM; and assistance to countries to prevent pests and diseases; and
  • welcomes the main conclusions of the International Conference on Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management held in Guatemala in February (CICI 2003).

DEFINING WORK OBJECTIVES FOR FAO IN KEY CROSS-CUTTING AREAS IDENTIFIED BY COUNTRIES AND THE FAO MEDIUM-TERM PLANNING PROCESS: COFO, inter alia:

  • strongly supports the additions to the work progammes on forests and water, forest and climate change, and forests, food security and poverty alleviation;
  • stresses the need for an integrated approach to work programme entities and recommends that steps be taken to continue improving linkages between the programme of work and outcomes;
  • recommends that the FAO's programme of work related to forests and climate change be expanded to better continue addressing issues identified under the UNFCCC;
  • encourages the FAO to continue strengthening national institutional capacity; and
  • recommends that FAO forestry programmes' outputs for 2004-2005 and beyond clearly show linkages to the IPF/IFF proposals and the expanded Programme of Work on Forest Biological Diversity.

COFO also recommends that FAO:

  • continue to focus on its core mandates in all entities of the proposed work progamme and highlight forest information as a priority;
  • provide, and encourage UNEP, UNCCD and other partners to provide, technical support to LFCCs for sustainable management of forests and trees outside forests;
  • continue serving as a neutral forum for discussing issues related to forest certification schemes;
  • provide increased emphasis on socially and ecologically based fire management;
  • continue supporting the UNFF and its leadership in the CPF and continue working closely with the other members of the CPF;
  • continue to give high priority to C&I for SFM and strengthen its role in facilitating collaboration among C&I processes; and
  • in collaboration with ITTO and in light of the conclusions and recommendations of CICI 2003, convene an international expert consultation.

A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF COFO16

COFO RENEWAL: RHETORIC OR REALITY

A sense of renewal prevailed at COFO's sixteenth session at the FAO in Rome. There was an emerging recognition of the necessity to bring the forestry sector forward into the 21st century. Positive moves started at home with the significant restructuring of the session itself, to be a more participatory process. Additional areas of renewal included a forestry mandate more outward looking toward international policy as well as honing into national and local issues of poverty reduction, institutions and governance. The session provided an excellent opportunity to put forward a shift in thinking, as the forum brought together delegates from over 110 countries and some of the world's most prominent forest experts. Yet, underlying this proactive atmosphere prevailed many of the old frustrations and concerns regarding resources, representation and how to ensure the future of SFM. This brief analysis considers some of these key concerns.

COFO AT HOME

For this session, the FAO redesigned COFO to make it more dynamic and participatory, to focus on the hottest issues in forestry, and to illustrate FAO's commitment to tackling "real" issues facing the forestry sector. The new structure, in a complete change from past meetings, included side and satellite events hosted by FAO, IGOs, NGOs and individual countries. These events addressed issues such as forests and poverty and forests and water, which allowed greater dialogue between participants. The FAO suggested that this would result in less rhetoric and more concrete opportunities for dialogue. Yet, at the same time the meeting remained inherently characterized by homogeneity of government officials and gray suits, and a few voices of NGOs and indigenous peoples. Some delegates felt that a technical meeting of COFO's nature was of marginal interest to NGOs, yet according to others it could have been an opportunity for COFO to be more inclusive and for FAO to widen its partnerships, especially now that they aim to engage in a broad range of cross-cutting issues.

NATIONAL REALITIES

With poverty alleviation now firmly on the COFO/FAO agenda, many developing countries were hopeful this would generate renewed funding opportunities for the forestry sector. However, merely placing these issues on the agenda guarantees neither funding nor successful implementation. It emerged in discussion that there exists a growing concern over the weakness of national institutions, which is a major factor hindering successful implementation at the local level. Particularly pertinent are the lack of capacity and the lack of means for participation of local peoples in decision-making. Tackling these issues will require great ingenuity on FAO's part and a financial commitment by donor countries.

INTERNATIONAL DILEMMA

In relation to the wider policy process, delegates expressed concern regarding marginalization of the forestry sector in international processes, partly out of choice, as in the case of the UNFCCC, and partly due to exclusion, such as in the international trade negotiations. COFO's endorsement of the new mandate is a positive step in creating synergies with other international processes, but its deliberations brought to the fore the real dilemma of the forestry sector: how to champion and influence these processes effectively to ensure SFM.

CONCLUDING REMARKS

Overall, COFO demonstrated recognition of the need to adapt FAO's programmes to wider international processes and national circumstances, and to consider the realities of poverty and local peoples in relation to forests. Yet FAO has to contend with the how rather than the whether: how the forestry sector should undertake these challenges and how FAO deems to support it effectively, especially considering the disparate number of international, regional, and national institutions dealing with forestry. COFO has voiced its intentions to guide the forestry sector forward more proactively. Only time will tell if this is simply rhetoric or if it will result in long-term and concrete action.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN 2003

ECPF2: The Second International Expert Consultation on the role of Planted Forests (ECPF2) will be held from 24-30 March 2003, in Wellington, New Zealand. The meeting aims to address the role of planted forests and identify ways to maximize their contribution to global sustainable forest management. For more information, contact: ECPF Secretariat; tel: +64-4-498-9847; fax: +64-4-498-9891; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.maf.govt.nz/mafnet/unff-planted-forestry-meeting/index.htm

DECISION SUPPORT FOR MULTIPLE PURPOSE FORESTRY CONFERENCE: A transdisciplinary conference on the development and application of decision support tools for forest management will be held from 23-25 April 2003, at the University of Agricultural Sciences, Vienna. For more information, contact: Manfred J. Lexer; tel: +43-1-47654-4056; fax: +43-1-47654-4092; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet: http://waldbau.boku.ac.at/iufro/i_program.htm

MCPFE4: The Fourth Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe will be held from 28-30 April 2003, in Vienna, Austria. The European ministers responsible for forests will take further decisions to promote progress toward the protection and sustainable management of forests in Europe. For more information, contact: Peter Mayer, Liaison Unit Vienna; tel: +43-1-710-7702; fax: +43-1-710-77-0213; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.minconf-forests.net/livingforestsummit

FAO-ECE FOREST COMMUNICATORS NETWORK: The FAO-ECE meeting will take place from 5-9 May, 2003, in Edinburgh, UK. For more information, contact: Timber Section, UN/ECE Trade Division; fax: +41-22-917-004, e-mail: [email protected]; Internet: www.unece.org/trade/timber/pr/pr.htm

ITTC-34: The thirty-fourth session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-34) will convene from 12-17 May 2003, in Panama City, Panama. The First Preparatory Committee for the negotiations of the Successor Agreement to ITTA 1994 will be held immediately following the session. For more information, contact: Alastair Sarre, ITTO Secretariat; tel: +81-45-223-1110; fax: +81-45-223-1111; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.itto.or.jp

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON RURAL LIVELIHOODS, FORESTS AND BIODIVERSITY: This conference will convene from 19-23 May 2003, in Bonn, Germany, to consider the role of forests in supporting rural livelihoods in developing countries and in maintaining biodiversity. Key objectives are to survey current knowledge, note policy lessons and establish a future research strategy. For more information, contact: William Sunderlin, CIFOR; tel: +251-622-622; fax: +251-622-100; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.cifor.cgiar.org/shared/template/livelihoodconference.asp

CENTRAL AMERICAN CONGRESS ON FORESTRY: The fifth Central American Congress on Forestry will be held from 21-23 May 2003, in Panama City, Panama. The meeting seeks to join researchers, indigenous peoples, entrepreneurs, and professionals from science and technology institutions to discuss their findings, field experiences and main results from their most recent research. For more information, contact: Irving R. Díaz,  ACAPROF; tel: +507-232-8430; fax: +507-232-8435; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.catie.ac.cr/news/notas/nota1_e03.htm

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ECONOMICS OF SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT: The conference will be held from 22-24 May 2003, at the University of Toronto, Canada. The central focus of this conference will be on economic principles, theories, methods, and models reflective of the distinct features of sustainable forest management. For more information, contact: Prof. Shashi Kant, Conference Secretariat; tel: +1-416-978-6196; fax: +1-416-978-3834, e-mail: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.forestry.utoronto.ca/socio_economic/icesfm/

UNFF-3: The third Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF-3) will be held from 26 May-6 June 2003, in Geneva, Switzerland. Delegates will discuss progress in implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action and the UNFF plan of action. For more information, contact: Mia Soderlund, UNFF Secretariat; tel: +1-212- 963-3262; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/forests.htm

INTERNATIONAL SEMINAR ON WATERSHED MANAGEMENT: The second international seminar on watershed management will take place from 15-18 June, 2003, in Wisconsin, USA. A study tour will incorporate instruction and facilitated discussion to address the needs and challenges facing watershed managers and administrators. For more information, contact: Dr. Earl Spangenberg, Coordinator; tel: +1-715-346-2372; fax: +1-715-346-3624; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.fs.fed.us/global/is/watershed/welcome.htm

THE FOREST SCIENCE/POLICY INTERFACE IN EUROPE, AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST WORKSHOP: This workshop will take place from 23-27 June 2003, in Copenhagen. It will cover issues related to management of natural and plantation forests and woodlands for economic, social and environmental goods and services in the European-African region and the Middle East. For more information, contact: Dr. John Parrotta, IUFRO Division 1; tel. +1-703-605-4178; fax: +1-703-605-5131, e-mail: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.flec.kvl.dk/scipol

PROTECTED AREA MANAGEMENT SEMINAR: The 2003 international seminar on the management of parks and protected areas will be held from 7-23 August 2003, in Missoula, Montana, USA. It will address integrated planning for protected areas, community involvement, tourism, concessions and visitor management, and communication, marketing and environmental education. For more information, contact: Dr. Wayne Freimund; tel: +1-406-243-5148; fax: +1-406-243-6656; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.fs.fed.us/global/is/ispam/welcome.htm

INTERNATIONAL SEMINAR ON FOREST AND NATURAL RESOURCES ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT: The nineteenth international seminar on forest and natural resources administration and management will take place from 24 August-11 September 2003, in Denver, Colorado, USA. Seminar themes are global perspective, policy, programmes and administration, sustainable management, and research and technology transfer. For more information, contact: Ann Keith, Seminar Coordinator; tel: +1-970-482-8098; fax: +1-970-490-2449; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.fs.fed.us/global/is/isfam/welcom.htm

SCIENTIFIC SEMINAR ON FOREST RESEARCH CROSSING BORDERS: This seminar will take place from 28 August-1 September 2003, in Joensuu, Finland. Topics include the role of forests in creating welfare, effect of global change on sustainable forest management, forests in the pressure global policy-making and better information for good governance of forests. For more information, contact: Anu Ruusila, European Forest Institute; tel: +358-13-252-0215; fax: +358-13-124-393; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.efi.fi/events/2003/10AC/seminar.html

WORLD FORESTRY CONGRESS: The twelfth World Forestry Congress will be held from 21-28 September 2003, in Québec City, Canada, to forge a vision of the future based on a balanced approach to sustainable forest management. For more information, contact: World Forestry Congress 2003 Secretariat; tel: +1-418-694-2424; fax: +1-418- 694-9922; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.wfc2003.org

INTERNATIONAL WILDLAND FIRE CONFERENCE AND EXHIBITION: The third International Wildland Fire Conference will be held from 3-6 October 2003, in Sydney, Australia. To conference will present a range of contemporary and future fire management issues relevant to nations and organizations with fire management capacity, in order to enhance global and regional networks of fire management professionals, industry leaders and policy makers. For more information, contact: Conference and Exhibition Managers; tel: +61-2-9248-0800; fax: +61-2-9248-0894; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.wildlandfire03.com/home.asp

ITTC-35: The thirty-fifth session of the International Tropical Timber Council will take place from 3-8 November 2003, in Yokohama, Japan. For more information, contact: Alastair Sarre, ITTO Secretariat; tel: +81-45-223-1110; fax: +81-45-223-1111; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.itto.or.jp

INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP ON FOREST PROTECTED AREAS: This workshop, sponsored by the Convention on Biological Diversity, will be held in Montreal, Canada, from 6-8 November, 2003. For more information contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.biodiv.org

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON QUALITY TIMBER PRODUCTS OF TEAK FROM SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT: This conference will take place from 2-5 December 2003, in Peechi, Kerala, India. For more information, contact: Dr. K. M. Bhat, Convener, International Teak Conference 2003; tel: +91-487-2699037;fax: +91-487-2699249; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet: www.kfri.org/html/k0500frm.htm 

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